Much like the first film, Sing 2 has been a massive success within the kids audience it serves, while causing barely a ripple elsewhere. With bright colours, cheerful character designs and oodles of pop music, Sing was a easy option for parents seeking the most undemanding entertainment possible, and without tilting for the meaning or narrative style of a Pixar film, Sing was gobbled up rather cheerfully by its target audience. The director (Garth Jennings) and his Illumination team are largely unchanged; why would you want to alter a winning formula?
Sequels can be tricky, but cast-iron, high-yield properties like this don’t need much reworking. This is, once again, the story of a koala with a showbiz dream; this time, Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) is getting the gang together to play a grand-scale concert, which makes up the last twenty minutes of the film. That’s a little thin as a narrative, so at the behest of promoter Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale), Buster also has to lure a major talent out of retirement; Clay Calloway is a lion who has turned his back on show-business, and is voiced by the living legend that is, erm, Bono from U2.
The music is what matters here, and Jennings makes some interesting choices; not many will have Mercury Rev on their bingo card of likely contributing bands, but their track Holes makes a thumping accompaniment to Buster and his gang arriving in the testing ground of Redshore City. There’s also some well chosen oldies like Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy as an opener, and the high-point for genuine pathos is having Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road play as Buster contemplates the potential failure of his venture. The mix of old and new runs from Billie Ellish’s Bad Guy to Aretha Frankin’s I Say a Little Prayer; the expressive cartoon characters can carry a tune in a way that the young and old should enjoy.
The Sing moves are a little too bright, over-lit and shrill for indulgent adult audiences, perhaps, but they’re quite painless compared to a lot of processed family fare. With an all-star voice–cast and a simple, inoffensive story, Sing 2 is just as good as the first film, and deserves its popularity. It’s a simple, unassuming formula, an animated musical review, and it works straight out of the box.
Sing 2 is iout now in the US and in UK cinemas from Friday 28th 2022.
Thanks to Universal for advance access.